The Dualism Man-Citizen…

[La dualidad hombre-ciudadano en la teoría de John Rawls]

Fernando Lizárraga

IPEHCS (Conicet-UNComahue)
Buenos Aires 1400 (8300) Neuquén, Argentina


The dualism man-citizen represents one of the founding features of liberalism. From the perspective of Gerald A. Cohen, this division embodies the fundamental disagreement between socialism and John Rawls’s liberal egalitarianism. Thus, adopting Cohen’s viewpoint, I first look into some general traits of this case and then go on to point out how it has an impact on the responsibility for preferences. Secondly, taking into account the two parts of the basic structure, I analyze how the first principle of justice –as a constitutional essential– is linked to citizens as a “collective body”, whereas the second principle –lacking force of law– is taken upon by particular individuals and associations. Lastly, in view of the tensions between the motives of citizens and individuals, I hold that the social minimum prescribed by Rawls might be insufficient to secure the fair equality of political liberties, fraternity, and self-respect, given the inequalities allowed by the difference principle.

Keywords: Citizenship, Liberalism, Difference principle, Rawls, Socialism.

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